The readings today make a strong suggestion that we better be on guard and work towards eternal life. James not speaking just about those who are abundantly wealthy but to all of us who have been graced and gifted by God for our many possessions. Because of our possessions we are challenged at a greater level to grow in faith. It is too easy to just sit back with what we have and let the world pass us by. When we are comfortable and complacent it is hard to motivate people.
Bishop Christensen once made the comment that it is easier to subdue a fire than it is to start one. People who are excited and enthusiastic for Jesus are said to be on fire. Sometimes that fire just needs to be directed and guided to ignite others to be on fire for the Lord. But if there is no fire, no flame, not even a spark, it takes a lot of work to get those people motivated.
True, we should look to see what motivates people, what is it that they desire. What would set them on fire. I would think the promise of eternal life should do it. Maybe not, particularly after listening to today’s gospel. Jesus does not want people to lose eternal life with God. He even suggests plucking your eye, cut off your hand, and so on. These would be extremely drastic moves. I have heard that some of the saints have even done such things.
I would suggest many people listen to this reading and have no response at all. Too often we have heard this reading and been told that Jesus really does not want us maiming ourselves. Hearing this too often we become insensitive to it. The challenge then is not to maim ourselves but respond. How will you respond? What motivates you to seek the Kingdom of God.
May the Lord bless you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen